During his stay he participated in the inauguration of the G5 Sahel Summit, a regional organization formed by Mauritania, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad. His participation, at the invitation of the presidency of the organization, Burkina Faso, and the host country, Mauritania, was the first of a Spanish minister at a summit of this organization. In her speech, Minister González Laya has reiterated the involvement and commitment to Sahel, a priority region for Spain in which she has been making efforts and resources, both financial and human, for years.
The minister has also had the opportunity to hold meetings with senior dignitaries of international institutions such as the President of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki, the Permanent Secretary of the G5 Sahel, Maman Sambo Sidikou, the Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel of the UN, Mohamed Ibn Chambas, as well as with his counterparts in Niger, Kalla Ankurao, and Mali, Tiébilé Dramé.
The minister has also inaugurated the I General Assembly of the Sahel Alliance together with his French counterpart, Jean-Yves Le Drian, and the EU commissioner for International Associations, Jutta Urpilainen, with whom he then held a meeting. The Alliance, born in July 2017, seeks to improve the effectiveness of development strategies and operations in the Sahel, especially in insecure regions with a high prevalence of poverty.
Spain, through the Spanish Cooper AgencyInternational Development Action (AECID), has been part of this group since the beginning of 2018, which has 12 other members (France, Germany, the EU, the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the UNDP, Italy, United Kingdom, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Denmark), in addition to 10 other countries and observer organizations. At the donor conference in December 2018, Spain announced a contribution to the G5 Sahel Priority Investment Program of 85 million euros for the execution of 35 new cooperation projects.
Finally, the visit has had an important bilateral dimension with Mauritania, a priority country for Spanish cooperation. During the audience of President Mohamed Uld Ghazuani, the minister conveyed her recognition for Mauritania's contribution to the stability of the Maghreb and the Sahel and thanked her country's valuable cooperation in migration and counterterrorism. Spain's commitment to this neighboring country, in which the Canary Islands have a growing role, is long term. With the Prime Minister, Ismail Uld Bedda Uld Cheikh Sidiya, and her counterpart, Ismail ould Cheickh Ahmed, the minister has pledged to continue defending the relevance of Mauritania within the EU, with which she has an important fishing agreement, and to encourage Spanish companies to contribute to the economic development of the country.